Screening Opinion Planning Application Submitted to Councils – How To Get Involved

As part of Cherwell District Council Local Plan Review 2040 Call For Sites, speculative proposals were submitted for the areas of both Nethercote and Huscote, these proposals would in effect see both areas concreted over and turned into Industrial Estates, creating a warehouse corridor as you drive up the A422 towards Middleton Cheney.  Neither of these areas are currently within the Local Plan and therefore not earmarked or assessed for development.  Our understanding from the published process is that following the close of the consultation in November 2021, that Cherwell District Council are currently reviewing the proposals submitted in the Call For Sites.  Residents and supporters of the area are currently waiting to learn whether either proposal will be supported for inclusion into the next stage of Local Plan Review 2040 and this is not expected to be published until later this year.

Looking Across The Ridge and Furrow Fields of Huscote

Despite this, a screening opinion application has been made to Cherwell District Council enquiring if an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required with a future planning application on the site.  A similar application has been made to West Northamptonshire Council given that a small part of the proposed site falls within their area.  This would indicate that a full planning application can be expected, despite Cherwell District Council not having had the opportunity to follow due process in consideration as to whether the area should even be considered suitable for development.  The councils must respond to the applicant by 3rd March 2022.

Full details of the application, along with an opportunity to comment can be found on each of the authorities online planning portals, note that only comments relating to the requirement for EIA will be considered by the council at this time:

Environmental Impact Assessment

An Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is an information gathering exercise that follows a prescribed process and allows the Local Authority to fully understand the environmental effects of a development before deciding if it should go ahead.  An EIA aims to provide objective information that helps not only the Local Authority but the wider community understand the true impact of any proposals. 

Carrying out an EIA also brings an obligation to consult with certain statutory consultees which aids objectivity of the assessment.

Not all development proposals require an EIA, despite the proposals for Huscote Farm meeting the criteria that would see an EIA required, the applicant argues that the area is insignificant and unimportant to the area and therefore the requirement could be disregarded in this instance. Everyone is entitled to leave a comment on the application, and it only takes a moment to do so.

As you come across the M40 at J11, there is a feel of leaving the urban setting of Banbury and entering into the Northamptonshire countryside. Whether you head up the A422 towards Middleton Cheney and into rural Northamptonshire, or along the A361 and through the historic villages that are dotted along the county border, the rural feel is undeniable. The applicant claims that using this area for large industrial warehouses will be discreet and blend well into the surrounding landscape! Everyone is entitled to comment on the application, and it only takes a moment to do so.

The Proposed Site Shown in Red

If you feel that the proposed development at Huscote Farm will have significant effect on the environment and our beautiful countryside landscape, please do take the time to engage with the process.  You can let either or both local authority know your thoughts by using the comments section on their planning portal. 

The A422 runs between M40 J11 and Middleton Cheney, today, you see rural Nethercote to the left & Huscote Farmland to the right. Developers propose to turn this section of A422 into a warehouse corridor & argue that this will have little impact on the area!

The A422 section between M40 J11 and Middleton Cheney today

Those who travel regularly across the M40 at J11 will know all too well that the road infrastructure in this area is fragile. Road networks planned decades ago and designed in days of lesser traffic have not changed in anyway to adapt to the increase traffic volumes we have seen over the past 50 years. Today, the slightest incident causes traffic in the area to quickly become gridlocked, this not only affects those trying to cross the M40 at J11 as repercussions can be seen across the whole of Banbury.

M40, J11
M1, shortly after opening in 1959. An illustration of how times have changed, but infrastructure has not adapted

It is imperative that the community engage with the planning process from the earliest opportunity to ensure that no aspect is overlooked, like the Big Yellow Taxi song goes “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone, They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

Full details of the application, along with an opportunity to comment can be found on each of the authorities online planning portals:

Once our countryside is lost it is lost forever and long after developers have taken their cash and left, we locally will be left burdened with the environmental devastation.

Update 3rd March: Both Cherwell DC & West Northants Councils have responded that an EIA would be required in relation to this site, their full decision can be read on their respective portals


  1. Far from being an area that is insignificant this is an area that is of outstanding beauty and importance to the surrounding area It contains some of the last ridge and furrow fields in the area and to cover it on concrete would be a tragedy We are already surrounded by huge ugly metal sheds along the edge of the M40 We do not have the infrastructure to cope with even more comings and going’s of large lorries. The roads in this area are already at bursting point with grid lock occurring with more and more frequency. I would urge you to reject this application and any others like it in g to be area

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